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Mars Planet

SCIENCE
June 29, 2007 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
THE ruddy surface of the alien world unraveled before Ken Edgett's eyes in noodle-like strips. Each image from the camera aboard the Mars Global Surveyor covered a 2-mile-wide swath of dunes, rock valleys and jagged ribbons of carbon dioxide ice. Twelve orbits a day, for almost a decade. A total of 243,926 pictures of the Martian wasteland. Edgett, a bushy-haired, 6-foot-2 scientist, stared himself half-blind as he scanned the pictures from his office in an industrial park outside San Diego.
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SCIENCE
April 14, 2007 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
A command sent to the wrong computer address caused a cascade of events that led to the loss of the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft in November, NASA investigators reported Friday. The error by ground controllers in Denver caused the spacecraft to mistakenly think its solar panels were stuck. By trying to free them, one of its onboard batteries overheated, eventually causing a loss of power. The spacecraft, which had orbited Mars for 10 years, was given up for lost Jan. 28.
SCIENCE
April 7, 2007 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
Global warming on Mars? It turns out you don't need belching smokestacks and city-choking traffic to heat up a planet. Changes in surface reflectivity may also do the trick, according to research published Thursday in the journal Nature. The research team, composed of scientists from NASA's Ames Research Center in Northern California and the U.S. Geological Survey, compared images of Mars taken by the Viking missions in the 1970s to pictures taken a quarter century later by Mars Global Surveyor.
SCIENCE
March 31, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
China and Russia will mount a joint effort to explore Mars and one of its moons in 2009, Chinese state media reported Wednesday. A Russian rocket will lift a Chinese satellite and Russian exploration vehicle to survey Mars and Phobos, the innermost and biggest of the red planet's moons, the state-run China Daily reported, citing China's National Space Administration.
SCIENCE
March 16, 2007 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
The ice at Mars' south pole contains enough water to cover the planet in an ocean 36 feet deep, scientists said today. Observations by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter determined the ice -- largely covered by dust and rock -- is more than two miles thick in places and is nearly pure water, according to research being published in the journal Science.
SCIENCE
February 17, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
Lasers beamed from space have detected what researchers have long suspected: big sloshing lakes of water underneath Antarctic ice. These lakes, some stretching across hundreds of square miles, fill and drain so dramatically that the movement can be seen by a satellite, glaciologists reported this week in the journal Science. The lakes lie beneath 2,300 feet of compressed snow and ice.
SCIENCE
February 10, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
NASA is investigating problems with two instruments aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the agency announced this week. In November, scientists operating the probe's high-resolution camera noticed an increase in image "noise," such as bad pixels. A problem also developed in an instrument that maps temperature, ice clouds and dust in the atmosphere. Scientists discovered the instrument had a skewed field of view.
SCIENCE
February 3, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
Scientists are scrambling to find an alternative landing site for a long-armed robot set to launch this summer on a mission to dig into Mars' icy north pole. The original landing spot was nixed after images beamed back by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed scores of bus-sized boulders littered over old crater rims on flat plains. The gigantic rocks pose a danger to NASA's Phoenix Mars lander.
SCIENCE
January 27, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
Scientists trying to find out where all the water on Mars went have ruled out one suspect: The sun did not blow it away, new measurements show. They measured ions -- charged particles -- being blown off the planet by the solar wind, itself a stream of charged particles, according to their report published Friday in the journal Science.
SCIENCE
January 13, 2007 | From the Associated Press
NASA is investigating whether incorrect software commands may have doomed the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, which abruptly fell silent in November after a decade of meticulously mapping the Red Planet. The space agency said that theory was one of several that might explain the failure of the probe, the oldest of six craft exploring Mars.
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